FanPost

Is 10 Wins Possible?

Two days out of the deadest month in the NFL calendar, I wanted to take a look at whether or not ten wins, and a playoff berth is actually possible by the 2010 Lions. Now, DrewsLions did a similar piece that questioned whether or not this team could potentially win ten games, but that had more to do with looking at our own talent, and deciding whether or not we had a team that was playoff caliber. I’m gonna do something different. I’m going to take a look at our opponents and see how our Lions match up with them.

 

 

Before we actually look at the Lion’s 2010 schedule, I wanted to point out some trends both on the offensive and defensive sides that I think will be key for wins or loses throughout the season.  Offensively, we know that the Lions biggest weakness is the offensive line. If we look more in detail, the Lions struggle the worst in pass protection. That doesn’t bode well because they will see ten double digit sack guys throughout the course of the season. In fact, nine of the sixteen opponents Lions will face will have at least one double digit pass rusher, and you can bet they will be lined up over one of our sub-par tackles.

It doesn’t get better for most of the remaining seven opponents either. Four of the seven remaining opponents happen to be the New York Giants, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots; team that may not have a stud pass rusher, but do a great job applying pressure to the quarterback as a team. There is another thing worth noting: of the sixteen opponents, seven will be running a base 3-4 defense. This might be the very a good thing for the Lions with their depth at the tight end position. The best way to attack a 3-4 defense to make those hybrid OLB/DEs cover TE in the middle of the field, and the Lions fortunately have two players that should be able to create mismatches against them.

Defensively, we know our biggest issue is pass defense: both pass rush and coverage. The lack of pass rush may or may not have been addressed with the additions of Vanden Bosch, Williams and Suh, but it’s safe to that our pass coverage is still going to be atrocious. The following chart is a list of quarterbacks that the Lions are going to face in 2010:

Name

Rating

Int Rate

Experience

Jay Cutler

76.8

1.63

5th year

Kevin Kolb

88.9

0.60

4th  year

Brett Favre

107.2

0.69

too many

AJ Feeley

69.6

1.26

6th  year

Eli Manning

93.1

0.88

7th  year

Donovan McNabb

92.9

0.63

14th  year

Mark Sanchez

63

1.33

2nd year

Ryan Fitzpatrick

69.7

1.00

5th  year

Tony Romo

97.6

0.56

6th  year

Tom Brady

96.2

0.81

11th  year

 

As you can see from the chart above, the Lions defense will have some chances to make plays. In 2010, the Lions defense will have the luxury of facing the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd most interception throwers in Cutler, Freeman, and Sanchez. They will also face career backups in Ryan Fitzpatrick and AJ Feeley, and young, unproven quarterbacks in Chad Henne and Kevin Kolb. That’s are eight games where the play from the quarterback position will be sub-par to terrible—games the Lions should win. The other eight games on the other end of the scale. The Lions will also have the misfortune of playing six of the top twelve passers (based on passer rating) in the league in Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre (twice), Aaron Rodgers (twice), and Eli Manning, which makes the other eight games very tough on the defense.

                So, the question is: can the 2010 Lions win 10 games? Lets see….

(Note: this will be a four part post)

Week One:

Opponent: Chicago Bears

Key defensive matchup: Kyle Vanden Bosch vs. Chris Williams

We can sort of trust our corners to do a decent job on guys like Devin Hester and Johnny Knox, but they still need to be masked. How KVB performs in this game will tell us a lot about how much we can rely on our defense. With Mike Martz’s pass happy style, the front four will get a lot of chances to get after Cutler, and if they can do that then this should be a win for the Lions.

Key offensive matchup: Julius Peppers vs. Jeff Backus

I think most of us would agree that Backus has no excuses for failure this season. The Lions have pretty much had the same offensive line for two straight seasons now, and every player on the line is a starting caliber player. Backus has always struggled against elite talent, and I expect the same in this situation; however, if he does a decent job on Peppers, then it will go a long way towards a Lions win.

Overall: It’s a tough call. The game will either be a close Lions win or a Bears blow out. Chicago will be at home, and I bet the new additions to the team will want to show their value in front of the home crowd. I would have to say that this is a Lions loss, even though a win would really prove a lot to the fans.

 

Week Two:

Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

Key defensive matchup: Chris Houston vs. DeSean Jackson

I actually think Houston matches up pretty well with Jackson. At this point of his career, Jackson is little more than a deep threat (though he is the best deep threat in the league), and Chris Houston has the speed to keep up with him every step of the way. The Eagles will have a very inexperienced quarter under center, and nothing will throw him off his game more than taking away his best target.

Key offensive matchup: Calvin Johnson vs. Asante Samuels

The biggest reason the Eagles always have the luxury of aggressively rushing the passer like they do is because they have had some great corners that can shut down opposing wideouts. However, that defense is just not the same when those corners can’t cover their man. Their linebacking core is pretty weak as are their safeties, and those units get exposed when the Eagles can’t commit extra men for pass rush.

Overall: I really like this matchup. I think this is one of those games the Lions could very well steal, maybe even win decisively. It will be Lions first home game, so the crowd will be big, and then throw in the fact that Eagles will have a new quarterback and runningback, both of whom have minimal experience, and you have the perfect setup for an upset.

 

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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